First Drive: Redesigned 2021 Ford F-150 Now Offers Hybrid Power and Tons of Tech

The popular pickup gains more available active safety features and driver assist features, and makes improvements throughout

2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid Consumer Reports

Competition has long been fierce in the full-sized pickup truck segment. When the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Ram 1500 got major redesigns in 2019, Ford needed to hit back hard with the 2021 F-150 to keep a grip on its coveted, longstanding title of “best-selling vehicle in America.”

Update: Since this first drive was originally published in March, 2021, we finished testing the Ford F-150 and F-150 Hybrid.

Read the complete Ford F-150 road test.

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Strike back big it has. The redesigned F-150 may only have mildly updated exterior styling, but the cabin has been thoroughly upgraded, there are numerous, unique job-site innovations inside and out, and it maintains an advantage over its chief American rivals when it comes to standard active safety features. Plus, Ford’s Active Drive Assist system—which can enable hands-free highway driving—is on the way to the F-150 later this year.

But the biggest news of all is the hybrid powertrain, the first ever for the F-150. Dubbed PowerBoost, the hybrid combines a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 with a lithium-ion battery and a 35-kW electric motor, producing 430 hp and 570 lb.-ft. of torque, making it the most powerful engine in the F-150 lineup. It uses a special 10-speed automatic transmission crafted for the hybrid application, and the 4WD version is rated at a thrifty 24 mpg combined by the EPA.

We bought two 2021 F-150s for the CR autos test program, a Lariat hybrid and an XLT with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. Myriad technical changes throughout have improved the F-150’s performance and creature comforts. But so far, our team has found a few things that could have been done better, including some aspects of the new hybrid’s powertrain.

If you’re a Consumer Reports member, our initial expert assessment of the Ford F-150 Lariat hybrid and F-150 XLT we purchased for our test program is available to you below. We have put them through more than 50 tests at the CR Auto Test Center, including those that evaluate acceleration, braking, fuel economy, handling, car-seat fit, and controls. CR members have access to the full road-test results.

If you haven’t signed up yet, click below and become a member to access this full article and all of our exclusive ratings and reviews for each vehicle we buy and test. Joining also gives you full access to exclusive ratings for the other products our experts evaluate in several categories, including electronics and home appliances.

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What we bought: 2021 Ford F-150 Lariat 4x4 SuperCrew PowerBoost hybrid
Powertrain: 430-hp, 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 hybrid engine; 10-speed automatic transmission; four-wheel drive
MSRP: $50,980
Options: Lariat Series ($6,920), 3.5-liter PowerBoost hybrid ($3,300), twin-panel moonroof ($1,495), 20-inch chromelike wheels ($1,395), Max Trailer Tow package ($1,350), power-deployable running boards ($1,220), Pro Power Onboard 7.2 kW ($750), B&O 18-speaker sound system ($695), power tailgate ($695), bedliner ($595), wheel-well liner ($180), Interior Work Surface ($165).
Destination fee: $1,695
Total cost: $69,935

What we bought: 2021 Ford F-150 XLT 4x4 SuperCrew EcoBoost V6
Powertrain: 325-hp, 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 engine; 10-speed automatic transmission; four-wheel drive
MSRP: $43,805
Options: XLT Series ($5,730), 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost ($1,195), twin-panel moonroof ($1,495), 20-inch 6-spoke dark alloy wheels ($1,395), built-in navigation ($795), B&O 8-speaker sound system ($610), power-sliding rear window ($350), XLT Sport Appearance package ($300), Interior Work Surface ($165).
Destination fee: $1,695
Total cost: $55,535

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